Bud Heald - 1936-2006
On behalf of Peg, and the entire Heald family, I wish to thank each of you for honoring Bud with your presence today. He was well loved by his family and it is obvious that he was well thought of by the community. We grew up in funeral service and worked in it all of our life, but only when something like this happens to us, do we really realize what our friends mean to us. Such a turnout of Funeral Service Professionals, Clergy, Veterans, friends, relatives and the community at large is really gratifying. We also appreciate everything that has been done for us during and after Bud’s illness.
Bud was the oldest of four children. Three boys and a girl. The boys were all born in February, and our sister, Sandy was born March 6th. Either our father didn’t have many spring burials those years, or May was a slow time in the funeral business.
Bud has been my brother for over 67 years. He also was my business partner for the past 38 years. About half those years we operated a very busy ambulance service along with the funeral business. The number of hours we spent together was unbelievable. Many days I saw more of Bud than Peg did. Some say that it is unusual for two brothers to work closely together this long and still get along. We didn’t always agree on everything, but we always came to an agreement. Bud was an achiever and a perfectionist. Growing up, he was not only my older brother, but also my hero. He was a Cub Scout, then a Boy Scout, and very nearly an Eagle Scout. He was quarterback for one of the winningest football teams Bob White ever coached at BFA. I believe they were undefeated for three seasons. Some of his teammates and many of his classmates are here today. He was chosen to play in the first ever NH VT Shrine game, but broke a leg skiing that winter, so he went to the game as manager.
He attended UVM for a couple of years and decided to leave and join the Marines with some high school buddies. It gave us all a scare when he was at Paris Island for Boot Camp and they had that terrible march into the swamp where some recruits drowned. Luckily he was not one of the Marines in that platoon.
After his discharge, he married Peg, and what ensued I am sure most of you have read in his obituary, so I don’t need to go through that again.
What I’d like to do is fill you in on some details that didn’t make the obituary. I’m not a student of the Bible, but I’ve sat through enough funerals to nearly memorize many of the scriptures. Every now and then a scripture reminds me of someone. I think parts of Ecclesiastes apply to Bud. You know Ecclesiastes, where there is a time for this and a time for that, like “a time to plant and a time to pick that which was planted.” Bud did lots of that. There wasn’t a thing Bud couldn’t grow. He had fruit trees with an abundance of fruit, his garden always yielded lots of vegetables, and his yard always looked like Better Homes and Gardens. Another part of Ecclesiastes said there was a time for “gathering things and casting them away.” Well, Bud only heard the part about gathering things. He never cast a thing away. His family jokes about his basement being “Bud-Mart.” Bud loved to shop and loved a bargain. He had at least one of everything, and knew where it was. When he returned from one of his frequent trips to visit Barb and Mark in New Hampshire, he usually had some new purchases to place on his numerous basement shelves. Right off he would notice if something had been taken while he was gone, and the investigation would begin, usually starting with Rett. Wal-Mart could take a lesson on inventory control from Bud.
Bud worked hard most of his life but he enjoyed his work. As I said, he was a perfectionist and wanted everything just right. That is a very good quality in any vocation, but especially in ours. Bud was very pleased to be asked to join the Board of Directors of the Peoples Trust Company. He was good with investments, but knew little about banking. His ability to achieve made him a fast learner and he always took a pragmatic approach to any problem or decision. I’m sure this made him a valuable addition to the bank board, a position he cherished for the past several years.
His work at the St. Albans Bay Cemetery was probably not fully known or recognized by most people, but he sold and marked out every grave space there for the past 35 years. He also was the person who cataloged the burials, wrote the deeds, organized annual meetings and made many of the decisions that needed immediate attention. He spent lots of time there, and will be sorely missed by all who relied on him.
When Bud was spending his last few hours with us, he would come in and go out of coherence, depending upon the effects of the medication received. He maintained his sense of humor throughout. At one time, Peg talked about meeting him later when she arrived at her just reward. He said, “OK, but you might have to page me.” Another time, Bud’s good friend and our long time employee, Stan Dukas, stopped in the room to say goodbye. He said, “Have a good journey, Bud”. Bud said “I’ll see you on the other side, Stan, and we’ll have a Budweiser”.
Bud’s family was very important to him. He and Peg did most everything together. He thoroughly enjoyed his trips to New Hampshire to see Barb, Mark and Tommy as well as their vacations to Maine. Sugaring and deer hunting with Bet, Harold and all the Howrigans, was another highlight of his year. He missed very few of the sporting events in which his grandchildren were involved. He enjoyed his work with Rett at the Funeral Home and being involved in the constant improvements that were taking place there by Rett and Emily. During Rett’s extended illness this year, Bud was instrumental in keeping the business going, with the help of Lucian Hayes and our dedicated staff.
I could go on and on about Bud, but this gives you a look at some of the things you might not see on a day-to-day basis. Before I close, I need to tell you that Bud wrote a good deal of his own obituary and detailed how his funeral should be conducted and by whom. He also asked that we have a luncheon following the funeral and he said, “Make it clear to everyone that this is the last time I’m buying.” So let’s honor Bud’s wishes and go from here to the American Legion Hall on Parah Drive and partake of a fine Bob Santini Buffet. The drinks and food are on Bud. To get there, take a right at the new Peoples Trust Company Bank by McDonalds. At the end of the church service, our immediate family is going to the cemetery to put Bud to rest, but we will join you at the Legion in a few minutes when we are done. Go ahead and start without us.
So, Bud, have a good journey, keep an eye out for all of us, and we’ll page you when we get to the other side.